Friday, December 9, 2011

Do We Really Have a Choice?

Well election season is here in full force in the United States. While writing a post for my other blog, Senior Neurons, I started thinking about our political system. We have one of the longest, if not the longest, political campaign season of any country. It is certainly the most expensive, costing billions of dollars.  It is funny how we Americans are so arrogantly proud of our democratic election processes and think we are the only democratic country of the world. We are neither the largest democracy, nor the oldest. India is by far the largest democracy and probably the title of the oldest democratic form of government goes to the Six Nation Tribes of the Iroquois, the Native Americans of the US. Iceland has a very long history going back to the early 900's. Of course we all know, at least I hope we know, that democracy started in ancient Greece. America has it's own concept of democracy, which is not necessarily shared by the other democratic countries of the world.

During our election campaigns we are always reminded by politicians of both parties of how lucky Americans are, compared to Communist countries, such as China. We are told that in China and other communist countries or countries run by authoritarian governments, the people may vote in elections, where there is only one party on the ballot. We are told that we are lucky because we have a choice. Do we really? Are we really that much different than a communist country? Yes it is true there is only one party, the Communist Party. But in the United States we have two parties, Democrats and Republicans. Big deal. One more party!

Sure there have been elections where there has been a candidate from another party. We call this person the third party candidate. Where are the fourth, fifth, sixth and so on party candidates. If they exist we don't hear about them. Why? The answers probably are that these parties don't have any money and the media pays no attention to them. Another Abe Lincoln or FDR could be out there belonging to a party with no assets. We would never know.

That brings to mind something else we hear about quite often during elections. That is "any kid can grow up to be president of the US". Really? Let's take a look at that. If you look at all of the candidates in this years election and all previous elections in modern times, you find that they are extremely wealthy and have extremely wealthy backers. So in reality only the very rich can afford to run for president. According to the US constitution only citizens born in the US can become president, so naturalized citizens cannot run for president. How about a gay person becoming president? That's a laugh.  Gay people can't even marry each other in this country or sponsor their same sex partner to immigrate to this country. There is no chance in hell one will become president. How about a Muslim becoming president? Absolutely not. In order to be president you have to be a church going, bible thumping Christian to even run for the presidency. 1960 was the first time a Roman Catholic was elected with JFK becoming president. I remember as a teenager all of the Southern Baptists and other fundamentalists predicting the Pope would take over the country. Now Mitt Romney is fighting the bigotry of these so called Christians. The republican candidates are constantly questioning just how Christian their opponents are. So if you are Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu or God forbid an atheist, forget about ever becoming president. Up until the last election we all thought it would be impossible for a Black person to become president. Well Obama broke that barrier and he's been paying for it every since. Republican conservatives and other racists and bigots have been trying to destroy him from the day he became president.

Okay now let's just look at an average person, who happens to have a superior intellect and unquestionable honesty. He hasn't got a chance. To be a good politician you have to have a certain level of arrogance and a hidden streak of dishonesty. Remember Jimmy Carter? Nobody liked him because he was too honest. Now no one is perfect, but in order to run for president you have to have an appearance of perfection. In each election campaign you find at least one candidate who is forced to drop out over accusations of sexual misconduct or some illegal financial dealings. Herman Cain was the latest victim. The rest of the candidates are by no means angels. They just have enough money, lawyers and strategies to keep the skeletons in their closets hidden. They also probably have some good dirt on their opponents that keep them quiet.

So what is the difference between the communist system and ours when it comes to elections? Well in communist countries like China the candidates for leadership must be a member in good standing of the Communist party, which means you have to strictly adhere to the Communist ideology. In American politics, you can be president as long as you are Christian, rich, preferably white and a man, definitely heterosexual ( or have the outward appearance of being straight), anti-immigrant, a little bit crooked and against any kind of social change benefiting minorities. All others need not apply.

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Ablog about liberal politics andsocial issues